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Compass FYI Giving Spirit Outside The (Gift) Box The spirit of charity is a part of a child’s education that should never be neglected. At Riviera Schools, you can be sure it won’t be. Riviera has a long history of charitable giving and contributing to civic and humanitarian causes in South Florida and beyond. “We start teaching our youngest 3-year-olds to be charitable, and we continue to work toward these goals with the students through the time they graduate so that they can leave Riviera with a true understanding that each of us must work to make a positive impact on the world around us,” says Associate Director Peter Cohen. Every year, Riviera’s students participate in a number of efforts to help those in need, from collecting thousands of cans of food for the homeless to creating and selling coloring books to benefit cancer research. One of the school’s most recent efforts to give back comes through their creation of two financial scholarships to be awarded to qualified applicants at each grade level from grades 6-12. Says Cohen: “We strongly believe in encouraging our students and their families to give to those who are less fortunate.”; 6800 Nervia St., Coral Gables, 305.666.1856; Let’s face it — we’ve all had Christmas gifts that were destined to head straight to the back of the closet, or the Goodwill donation box. But no one who gives during the holidays wants their present to fall that shy of the mark. How do you make sure that your gift is one that will be truly appreciated? Sometimes gift buying is a cinch; college students, for example, always have a long list of items they genuinely need. But it can be harder to pick the right gift for someone who already has “everything.” That’s when we often find ourselves falling into what I call The Price Tag Policy — picking an amount of money we think appropriate to spend on a person, and buying items they might-sort-of like until we hit that price point. That’s a quick way to spend more money than you need to on something that isn’t really needed or doesn’t fit the personality of the recipient. For those tough people on your Christmas giving list, consider thinking outside the gift box. Create “gift certificates” for items like a homemade dinner or a date night. Or consider handmade items like a book of family recipes, or framing a favorite photo. Remember that when it comes to the holidays, it’s not what you spend — it’s the thought that counts. › her Liliana days as Jones a literary spends agent, and her evenings and weekends as a mom. Originally from Colorado, she now lives in Key Biscayne with her husband and twin girls. Her Christmas wish this year is for everyone to have a safe and happy holiday! White Out “The journey to happiness involves finding the courage to go down into ourselves and take responsibility for what’s there: All of it.” — Richard Rohr 18 Big Figures Bird Brain Water precipitating in the form of snow takes up plenty of space. In fact, there’s 15 inches of white stuff for every inch of rain. That means if all of Miami’s precipitation fell as snow, we’d have nearly 75 feet per year. So much for flood insurance! The absolute largest number that can be named in the English language is referred to as a googolplex. The name was suggested by the 9-year-old nephew of mathematician Dr. Edward Kasner. Go figure! For those of you who may not be aware, the eye of an ostrich is actually bigger than its entire brain, which may explain why its natural response to danger is to stick its head into a hole and wait. But don’t tell the angry bird pictured above that!